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Is the Structure of Happiness Equations the Same in Poor and Rich Countries? The Case of South Africa

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  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh

Abstract

Are happiness patterns structurally the same when comparing poor and rich countries? Using cross-sectional data from the SALDRU93 survey, we show that the relationships between subjective well-being and socioeconomic variables have a similar structure and is U-shaped in age in South Africa as in developed countries. Well-being rises with income. Unemployment is detrimental to reported well-being, both at the individual- and household-level. Living standard indicators such as durable assets ownership seem to determine happiness levels as well as income. Relative income also matters to well-being, after controlling for community wealth.

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  • Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2003. "Is the Structure of Happiness Equations the Same in Poor and Rich Countries? The Case of South Africa," Economic Research Papers 269488, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwarer:269488
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ferdi Botha, 2014. "Life Satisfaction and Education in South Africa: Investigating the Role of Attainment and the Likelihood of Education as a Positional Good," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 555-578, September.
    2. Bert G.M. Van Landeghem, 2008. "Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," LICOS Discussion Papers 21308, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    3. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2005. "Unhappiness and Crime: Evidence from South Africa," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 531-547, August.
    4. Tim Hinks, 2010. "Job Satisfaction and Employment Equity in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(2), pages 237-255, March.
    5. Timothy Hinks & Carola Gruen, 2007. "What is the Structure of South African Happiness Equations? Evidence from Quality of Life Surveys," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 311-336, June.
    6. Byela Tibesigwa & Martine Visser & Brennan Hodkinson, 2016. "Effects of Objective and Subjective Income Comparisons on Subjective Wellbeing," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 361-389, August.
    7. Ferdi Botha & Frikkie Booysen, 2013. "The Gold of One’s Ring is Not Far More Precious than the Gold of One’s Heart: Reported Life Satisfaction Among Married and Cohabitating South African Adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 433-456, April.
    8. Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," Research Memorandum 043, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    9. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2003. "Are there Regional Variations in the Psychological Cost of Unemployment in South Africa?," Labor and Demography 0310006, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 28 Oct 2003.
    10. Landeghem Bert van, 2011. "A Test for the Convexity of Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," ROA Research Memorandum 008, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food Security and Poverty; Labor and Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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